Not enough time to build even more? Make time…

“Mom, I need 30 minutes more, we are getting done…!” Here we are in the Walter P.J. Gilefski Media Center at Woodbridge, three members of the Girls Who Code Club, robotic parts we never even spied before all tumbling out of the box,

and mission – working robotic that we will employ on June 1st in its debut- and believe it or not, the ladies were itching after 2 hours for more time to continue – the mechanics of the process hooked them, it was AWESOME. Better than I would have predicted – and let me share the aspects that impressed me the most:

In 22 mechanical steps that should have taken two days, the ladies managed to get to step 20 in 2 and a half hours just because they were so intrigued with using tools and seeing something develop from THEIR own hands building it.

What impressed me more was not that they flew through the steps, in fact 5-6 of them they realized a bolt, fastener, gear, or part was not right and several times they backed up and redid a step or two- and they never became frustrated enough to give up – in fact, they learned EVEN MORE by figuring out their mistake ON THEIR OWN, AND seeing it click in their heads of what made it right. It was phenomenal seeing this play out in front of me.

Several, MANY times, the Girls Who Code members kept apologizing for making a mistake, not getting the process correct. and I kept emphasizing this point – NEVER apologize for doing it incorrect ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU figured out what was wrong – never EVER. Part of you becoming more intelligent in this mechanical sense is the mistake you made, and YOU realizing it and correcting it – you should not be apologizing for thinking you should have known the correct way first, because by not, you are becoming smarter through each lesson learned. BE PROUD of what YOU are doing and HOW you are figuring this all out, because I sure am!

It was amazing seeing how they began to work as an assembly line, one person predicting what the next step would be and beginning to put together the parts that would seamlessly work together after the current process being completed, their work and understanding each other as they worked together, was an amazing harmony. What they were learning without saying anything was outstanding.

It was super amazingly cool seeing them learn and apply the mechanical lesson of left loosey and righty tighty and other very mechanical concepts but honing them in on a central project they were all working on. Seeing the difference between flared and inset screws, the width and dimensions of some hardware and putting it into words why it would not work, what worked better and seeing these ladies handle the tools and math involved with so many different arts working together – it was nothing short of magic happening.

I am grateful I was seeing this all occur in the library media center and they understood what this area was, a place of learning, discovery, excitement, laughter, seriousness, solace, and experimentation. The fact that these ladies were becoming so excited about the hands on applications they were learning from Math, Science, reading detailed manual-driven directions instead of only reading from a test booklet and filling in bubbles – it all gelled together and they dove at it full speed.

Stay tuned in the next few days to what ends their abilities will take them and what they will use this first robotic project will be used for – we think you’ll love it!


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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